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US ambassador hails better relations with Turkiye as 'essential' for American security

February 14, 2024 at 6:08 pm

Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Numan Kurtulmus (R) meets with US Ambassador to Ankara Jeffry Flake (L) at Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkiye on February 13, 2024 [Turkish Grand National Assembly/Anadolu Agency]

US Ambassador to Ankara Jeff Flake said that developing Turkish-US relations is “essential” for American security, strength, and prosperity, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a guest column for Deseret News, Flake wrote that Turkiye, which boasts the second-largest army in NATO, has a critical importance for the strength of the alliance and guarantees interoperability between allies in the future.

“Improved US-Turkiye relations advance a range of issues essential for American security, strength and prosperity,” he said.

He said the US Congress letting the sale to Turkey of F-16 aircraft go forward is very important and meaningful for both sides, and that this indicates the two countries’ commitment to the collective interests of their strong bilateral relationship.

“In addition to this $23 billion F-16 deal, Turkiye’s ongoing defence sector transformation – from drones and high-tech components to engines and artillery shells – is integral to the US defence supply chain and the strength of our NATO alliance,” wrote Flake.

Noting that the geographical location of Turkiye and Istanbul, which connects Asia and Europe, also philosophically refers to the East-West divide, Flake said: “Similarly, while war rages in Ukraine to the north and ravages Gaza to the south, here sits Turkiye – once again, smack dab in the middle.”

‘Turkiye’s dialogue skills are unique’

Flake stressed that Turkiye is “unique in its ability to open conversations with our adversaries in ways and in places we simply cannot.”

“For instance, Turkiye is well-placed to play a role in the resolution of the conflict in Gaza. Like the United States, Turkiye supports the establishment of a Palestinian state as the best pathway to a durable peace,” he wrote.

Flake also said that Turkiye has proven to be an alternative to China in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia.

‘US will continue to work collaboratively with Turkiye’

Flake also said there are issues on which Washington and Ankara disagree.

“Our approaches to countering (Daesh) ISIS do not always align, but Turkiye is an essential member of the anti-(Daesh) ISIS coalition. We will continue to work collaboratively on these and other difficult issues to bridge those gaps.

“During my confirmation hearing in September of 2021, I said that Turkiye was an indispensable ally. Events since then have reaffirmed that this country – always in the middle of it – is just that,” he wrote.

He said that his former colleagues in Congress offered an opportunity to revitalize the bilateral relationship between the two countries by making the F-16 sale a reality, and added: “They did the right thing.”

READ: USA approves F-16 sale to Turkiye alongside F-35s for Greece